USS Lewis B. Puller Holds Change of Command

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | August 22, 2022

MANAMA, Bahrain --

Expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) held a change-of-command ceremony Aug. 22 while pierside in Bahrain.


Capt. David Skarosi relieved Capt. Richard Burgess as commanding officer of Lewis B. Puller’s gold crew during the ceremony. The ship is forward-deployed to Bahrain in support of U.S. 5th Fleet operations throughout the Middle East.


Since Burgess’s assumption of command in 2021, Lewis B. Puller has supported maritime patrols and multinational exercises with regional partner. He said one of the proudest moments for the crew was simultaneously employing rotary-wing aircraft, small boats and unmanned systems while also hosting an amphibious task force.


“My hybrid crew of Sailors and Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and contractors came together these past 15 months as one to noticeably advance the capabilities of the nation's preeminent expeditionary sea base,” Burgess said. “Their service and professionalism inspired me daily, and they meaningfully enriched relationships with partner nations throughout the 5th Fleet region."


Burgess is now slated to serve as the commanding officer of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.


Skarosi assumes command of Lewis B. Puller after serving as executive officer of Pre-Commissioning Unit John. F. Kennedy (CVN 79), the second aircraft carrier in the Gerald R. Ford class.


“Gold crew’s success is a testament to their determination and teamwork, which I am excited to be a part of,” Skarosi said.


Lewis B. Puller is capable of supporting a wide variety of missions including counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and crisis response operations.


The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses approximately 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Strait of Bab al-Mandeb.